According to PayScale’s recent employee turnover report, the employee turnover rate among Fortune 500 companies in the IT industry is the highest among all industries surveyed. Here’s PayScale’s list of companies with the shortest tenure:As you can see, some pretty prominent tech companies are at the top of the list (Amazon, Google, Mosaic, etc.) Now, the question is, why? It could be that the companies suck, I don’t know. But it’s hard to say that about Google, who offers its employee perks that seem almost fictional (onsite pool tables, ping pong tables, video games, onsite haircuts, and onsite gyms with swim-in-place pools).
Could be that the jobs are high stress. I can see where working for these highly competitive companies could cause stress. But, again, I don’t think it’s that. IT pros kind of know going into their line of work that stress is going to be part of the bargain.
I’ve noticed that here at my company we have a high churn rate in the IT department. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t encounter a complete stranger in the break room. (Strangers that always appear to be about 12 years old, by the way. What’s the deal with that?)
So what are the reasons for the high turnover rate in tech companies? For one, the job outlook is picking up and smart IT pros are finding that they have their pick of IT jobs. Their skills are highly marketable—why not take advantage of that?
But according to Leonid Bershidsky in a piece he wrote called Whyare Google employees so disloyal?, there may be something else going on:
“Technology companies that hire the smartest young people around all but guarantee themselves a high churn rate. A lack of employer loyalty is a defining feature of Generation Y. No matter how satisfied these highly marketable young minds may be, no matter how much they enjoy the free meals and hybrid car subsidies, they will jump ship as soon as they get bored or get a better offer elsewhere.”
It would be easy to take a “kids these days!” approach like this. But, really, if you’re in your 20s and have cutting-edge IT skills, then why not explore different companies? If you’re not going to do it at the beginning of your career, when are you? Job-hopping becomes a little more complicated after the house and kids come along.
Also, it’s not like Google and their ilk are buying a bunch of gold watches with plans to hand them out at retirement ceremonies. Modern companies, as far as I can see, don’t put a lot of heartfelt promise into long-time employment for their workforce.
In other words, not many young people now go into a company with the expectation, like guys returning from WW II, of that’s where they’ll spend the rest of their working lives. Part of that may be because of their age group “personalities,” but it may also be because they haven’t exactly seen the concept of loyalty practiced by the companies themselves. They’ve probably lived through layoffs experienced by their parents.
Also, it doesn’t appear that tech companies are complaining about the churn rate. After all, if a bright mind stays for a while and then leaves, it’s likely that another bright mind will step in and help take companies places they haven’t considered.